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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I'm doing the VI challenge!

One of my time-wasting hobbies is running Linux on virtual machines. I play games from time to time so Windows is still my main OS. But otherwise, I do use my Linux virtual machines for many things like my personal Mercurial repository is running on VirtualBox. For the curious, my distro of choice is Archlinux. Anyone who's needed to tinker with a Linux distro knows that you spend a lot of time in a text editor changing configuration files. Typically, the choices are pico/nano for its simplicity, or vi because it's on any POSIX compliant operating system. I decided, ah what the heck, I'm gonna learn vi and use that for editing files instead of nano. I got decent with vi. I could move around (albeit I still relied on home/end and arrow keys), save, search, etc., but on Windows I'd still use Notepad2. In an attempt to improve my productivity in text editing, I'm doing the VIM challenge! All my text editing I will be using WinVI (I even replaced the notepad.exe with it), and I even got the demo of ViEmu running on Visual Studio. For the next 2 weeks I will be using vi for anything text related. I've been going through tutorials and trying to remember all the new things I'm learning. Most importantly, I'll be trying to avoid the home/end/arrow keys as well. BTW, '*' is an awesome feature in vi. It highlights all instances of the current word in the document, and subsequently you can use n or N to back or to the next instance. Like, take a look at the following screen shot: Hosted by Boom! All instances of "total" highlighted with just a Shift+8. Let's see you do the same thing with Ctrl+F, mouse-click "Find next" (or worse, reverse your search).

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